"Traditional hardware people need to figure out how to cluster in different environments. It's not just about buying a database and hooking it up to a hard drive. Now you have distributed databases that are hooked up to multiple servers and multiple hard drives," Hill says. Hadoop "is inexpensive, but it require somebody who really knows how to scale hardware."
Hill says Hadoop is also a good skill for IT professionals with relational database management experience to pursue. "If you really understand data structure and queries, there's going to be a lot of job opportunities," she adds.
Job opportunities for data scientists and Hadoop specialists are emerging across industries, from Web companies and e-retailers to financial services, healthcare, energy, utilities and media.
"There are so many directions you can go in with these [data management] skills," Hill says. "It's very fertile ground for experienced IT professionals, but also for people coming out with computer science degrees. It's a great area to specialize in."
Bhambhri says IT departments will be looking to hire new people in the area of big data as well as to retrain some of their existing staff to add data analysis and Hadoop-related programming and administrative skills. For example, IBM retrained 2,400 IT professionals at Big Data Bootcamps that it held for its customers and partners last year.
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"The IT departments really have to expand their data platforms and not be restricted to structured data repositories," Bhambhri says. "They have to bring in new sources of unstructured data in their platforms to answer the questions that C-level executives are asking for their decision-making processes. From an IT perspective, it's very important for the IT folks to not only identify these data sources but to work with their business counterparts to discover what other sources of data need to be seamlessly integrated into their platforms."
IBM has a new initiative called Big Data University aimed at training undergraduate and graduate students in the area of big data and exposing them to Hadoop. Launched last October, Big Data University has already attracted more than 14,000 students to register for its online courses. IBM offers six online courses related to Hadoop and big data.